Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Rant: How to turn paying customers into defectors

Rant: How to turn paying customers into defectors

As any decent mobile apps user, I pay for apps I'm using. That's because I want to support developers. Being a developer myself, I know they put a lot of work into these products. But sometimes, just sometimes, I tend to forget all that, and here is why.

After you pay for an app or game or whatever, sometimes you run into trouble. If the developer behind an app quickly addresses your issues, you feel like you haven't paid whatever you paid for that app for nothing. In my opinion paying for an app doesn't just give you access to that app, it implies some amount of support. But when the support people stick it to you, that's when you defect. That's when you start using their apps without paying for them.

A while back, I was browsing Nokia Store just like I do everyday, to find new things I may like and download or buy them if they're paid. And so I stumbled upon some Gameloft games that were on sale. I thought "WOW I should get these games while they're 60 Euro cents". And so I did. I bought 4 games: HAWX, Dungeon Hunter HD 2, Spiderman Total Mayhem and Assassin's Creed. I was a happy gamer for about a month. And then, things got ugly. After meddling with my phone's software for reasons not worth mentioning here, and ended up needing to reinstall the OS on my N8.

After reinstalling Belle I did the next logical thing, download my apps again. When I tried to download my paid games again, surprise! Dungeon Hunter 2 was nowhere to be found. I thought to myself "there's something wrong with the store client", so I searched from the store website. Still nothing. I didn't know what to think, but I figured "I'll solve this later" and moved on to downloading Assassin's Creed. To my surprise, instead of the usual Download button you get for apps you paid for, I was greeted by... wait for it... the BUY button! Strike two! The others installed fine, and I thought that these two will also be resolved after an email to Gameloft's support team.

Well, after searching like a lunatic for half hour, I found there was no support email, so I did what everyone else would have done in my situation: I left a message for them in their Facebook wall, explaining my problem. I got a private message a few hours later asking for my email address in order to forward it to support. It's been two weeks now and I still haven't heard from them. I even poked the Gameloft Twitter account, but to no avail. And you know what the funny thing is? They have a full development unit in Romanian! Yes, my countrymen! Plus, their Facebook page is in Romanian. They are 250km away from me. If they would have sent me a written letter response it would have reached me faster.

So what do I do now? Well, I found myself the games I paid for available as downloads on the web and I'm happy to say I play them every day. So yes, dear friends, I paid Gameloft for two games that I had to download from a cracks site. Nice right?

The next company that are doing it wrong is Dropian. With their latest release, they thought "let's promote it on Twitter". And here is how they did it:

What can one understand from this? Well, I understood something along the lines of "you better pay for it or else!". And then, just to reassure me I got it right, they hit it again:

Not only that, but they prove once again their "smart" marketing skills.

Don't I look like a pirate now?

That being said, rant over. If you've ever been ripped off by software companies, leave a comment below.

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